Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.
Openings and reopenings
Mueller Trailer Eats just got a whole lot sweeter, care of local confection darling Hey Cupcake!, which moved into the Central East Austin food park earlier this month, becoming the only eatery in the park to offer treats of the sugary variety. Over the summer, Hey Cupcake! had parked the business at east side lodging house Native Hostel, and while that was a fruitful move for the mobile cakery, landing at the Mueller Trailer Eats park was a Vanilla Dream come true for the biz, according to a company rep. Current Hey Cupcake! hours are Wednesday and Thursday from noon-8 pm, Friday from 11am-10 pm, Saturday 8 am-10 pm, and Sunday 8 am-6 pm — because there’s nothing more delectable than starting your weekend morning with a 24 Carrot cupcake. (It’s got carrots in it, so it’s totally the breakfast of champions!) Hours are subject to change, so follow Hey Cupcake! on Instagram for updates and the Flavor of the Month treat (currently the drool-inducing Pumpkinator).
Fun, food, and frozen concoctions are coming to Pflugerville in the form of Willie’s Grill & Icehouse, the classic Lone Star-style pub-and-grub spot founded in Houston in 1993. According to a state filing, Willie’s will open a 6,117-square-foot location at 19200 Colorado Sand Dr. in Pflugerville. Construction is scheduled to begin on March 18, 2022 and be completed by July 10, 2022. The new restaurant and bar, which will augment the nearby Georgetown Willie’s as the only other area location, will include indoor and outdoor gaming areas. And as any respectable Texan knows, such games must be played with beer in hand!
A popular Houston-based restaurant known for its scrumptious brunch, Tex-Mex specialties, and plethora of margarita offerings is rolling into the New Braunfels area. A Community Impact report notes that Lupe Tortilla is set to open a restaurant at 2975 Town Center Dr., suite 100, next spring. It will move into the space formerly occupied by Newk’s Eatery and become the seventh Lupe location in the region.
Fans of adored local eatery Thai Fresh have cause to rejoice. The authentic Thai restaurant — which has gained an almost cult-like following for its dedication to seasonal ingredients prepared in spectacularly delicious ways — has reopened it dining room, which has been closed the entirety of the pandemic. Owner Jam Sanitchat will continue to adhere to strict safety guidelines, including using QR code menus, and is instituting a new on-demand ordering service that enables guests to order directly from their phones and then be served by the restaurant’s staff. Visit the Thai Fresh website to check out the menu.
Other news and notes
Super charming Bouldin Creek eatery Lenoir has had a makeover, just in time for its 10-year anniversary on New Year’s Eve. The restaurant’s indoor remodel includes the addition of a banquette that seats as many as 12 guests, 10 seats at the hammered-copper bar, a new window that enhances natural light in the space, a new ceiling, and dark-blue and white tiles that offer a warm and classic vibe. Sit a spell and sip some Lenoir Pét-Nat, the restaurant’s new branded red varietal made in collaboration with Austin Winery and using grapes grown by winemaker Kurt Banff near Lake Travis. And speaking of celebrating, commemorate New Year’s Eve at Lenoir, which will include a 10-course meal from chef Todd Duplechan paired with natural wines chosen by Jessica Maher. Dishes will include osetra caviar on tuna marrow, crab “pearls” with poached roselle flowers, quail egg tamal with braised foraged mushrooms and shaved white truffle, sorghum-smoked beef rib eye cap with bone marrow dumplings, and much more. Seatings for the holiday dinner will be at 5 pm and 8:30 pm, and special complimentary beverages will also be served. Reserve your spot here.
Do you cherish the holiday tradition of indulging in tamales with loved ones but worry the standard masa morsels won’t meet your vegan diet standards? Never fear, tamale lovers. Lick It Up is here to save the holidays! The local Mexican street food eatery, which parks its food trucks at two Austin locations (Lost Well on the east side and The Hive down south) and offers a 100 percent plant-based menu, is now taking orders for its holiday vegan tamales here. They’re available in red chile, green chile with cheese, and black bean with cheese (all are gluten-free, and the black bean and green chile are soy-free). Orders will be ready for pickup at both locations between 5 and 8 pm December 20-22. Lick It Up will send customers an email prior to the pickup date to confirm the location and pickup time.